Hazards Of Microwave..

Discussion in 'General Discussions' started by sunkan, Sep 12, 2007.

  1. sunkan

    sunkan Gold IL'ite

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    Last week my wife came home panicking after a discussion with her friends during the women's meet about usage of Microwave oven. I tried to slow her down explaining, every new invention has its own pros and cons and its up to consumers like us to be aware of it and use with our discretion properly.

    May be my answer put a temporary band-aid on her concern and helped to divert her from panic mode. But unknowlingly she gave me a good topic to research on and serve as an interesting one to blog.

    Lately we see lot of books titled around "Make Meals in minutes using Microwave" or something like "Microwave Magic meals". Also more Indian TV channels are coming up with new food episodes concentrating specially on making meals and food items in Microwave.

    This increasing number of Microwave craze clearly reveals the fact that kitchen revolution is happening in
    India transforming kitchens with new electronic gadgets like microwave ovens, coffee makers, bread toasters, sandwich makers and list goes on. Out of all, Microwave oven seems to rule many middle class kitchens more importantly helping the working parents for a great deal.

    It has very well become a part of the daily lifestyle and one of the mainstays of every kitchen in the country today. No longer is the microwave just a luxury. It has become a common trend to make meals out of Microwave in minutes to feed your appetite.

    It's the case in US for morethan 2 decades.
    Its hard to see Kjtchens without Microwave in any US house holds. Without microwave, its tough to manage the day to day food preparations. From dawn to dusk, this one kitchen equipment works overtime helping to make simple fast breakfast to go, cooking vegetables for meals, heating up snacks and so much.

    Little about Microwave & its workings

    Microwave is one of the best invention in the 21st century. It was originally sold as "Radaranges," use technology that passes electromagnetic waves through food, exciting the molecules and causing them to move and heat up as they respond to the microwave radiation. Most people don't think twice about heating up leftovers, defrosting meat, or popping popcorn in the microwave. Many new mothers even heat up breast milk or formula in the microwave.

    But are we paying for this convenience with our health? Studies on the effects of microwaves have been quite controversial as microwave technology has evolved over the years. In 1976 Russia even banned the use of microwaves!1 Here in the US, microwaves are ubiquitous, but recent research shows that microwaves significantly decrease the nutritional value of food.

    Microwave Panic

    Along with its gaining popularity, the microwave oven has also become a cause of concern for some people. This panic modes has not yet caught in Indian market because microwave is just starting to find its place in Indian traditional kitchens.

    Microwave ovens have been known to be used primarily for reheating leftover food. With its shortened time to heat up food, some believe that not all the bacteria can be killed and thus can result in unhealthy food.

    Another danger that microwave oven is known for is its ability to superheat liquids. Superheated liquids reach temperatures that are above their normal boiling points without actually boiling. This can usually happen to liquids placed in a container with a smooth surface. When a superheated liquid is disturbed, it has a tendency to explode accidentally which can immediately cause burns to the handler.

    Using tin and aluminum foil as well as other metal containers can produce sparks when placed inside a working microwave oven. Many people are also concerned having their food exposed to microwave radiation. Some believe that the radiation can cause chemical reactions different from those that occur through conventional heating. This chemical reaction is said to help form carcinogens that in turn can cause cancer in humans.

    Microwaving Plastics

    Microwave ovens regularly provoke fears about unwanted chemicals migrating from plastic cookware or food packages. Modern plastics are under scrutiny, including polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polycarbonate and 'plasticizers' -chemicals that make plastics pliable and soft. In the microwave, some chemicals may migrate into food, especially fatty food cooked at high temperatures.

    Plastic wrap should not come into direct contact with food when microwaving, because chemical components can, 'migrate' from plastics into food at microwaving temperatures. However, there is no evidence to date that such contaminants pose a serious threat to human health.

    Not all plastic is alike, and not all name-brand plastic products are microwave-safe. Cook only in containers labelled for use in the microwave as "Microwave Safe". Use polyethylene plastic containers, as they do not contain plasticizers and leave a gap between food and plastic wraps. If you use paper towels, choose the plain white kind, not coloured or recycled fibres containing dyes or chemicals.

    Proper Microwave usage

    Microwave users should note the following precautions to avoid explosions and burns.

    1. Put your teabag or instant coffee in the water before heating the water in the microwave;

    2. Always stir liquids before heating;

    3. Don’t cook things too long;

    4. Stir food midway through cooking;

    5. Allow standing time before touching container;

    6. Check temperature by sampling food before giving to a child;

    7. Do not let plastic wrap touch food during heating;

    8. Loosen the plastic wrap on one corner;

    9. Lift cover away from your face;

    10. Keep children away from the microwave when removing hot lids;

    11. Use a baby bottle warmer instead of heating a bottle in the microwave;

    12. Use a turntable inside the microwave to promote even heating.

    When it comes to microwave oven danger, there is still much to be studied. Advancing technology has also made newer microwave oven models that try to address such issues. Most of the said dangers still needs to be proven through more studies and may not be accurate.

    All in all, microwave ovens are still safe to use. There is no need to throw out your microwave oven, at least not just yet. Atleast a favorable outcome for all the bread winners(men)

    From Web Sources below:

    sindmani and nidhijoshi like this.

  2. ramyanand

    ramyanand Gold IL'ite

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    Thanx for the info sunkan:2thumbsup:

  3. sunkan

    sunkan Gold IL'ite

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